When Jackie Doggett decided to sign up for the Killeen Police Department's citizen police academy program in 2008, she'll admit it was more out of curiosity than anything else. But, the now treasurer of the academy's alumni association said her training was invaluable.
"It opened my eyes to what is going on," Doggett said. "Most of the time you don't know you just live your little life."
The 2014 class of the academy began its summer session Monday night. Residents who've been approved by a background check learn about almost every unit KPD has to offer. They also get to do a ride along with an officer to better understand what they look for when out on patrol.
According to the police department's head of crime prevention the academy is about helping the average person understand how officers do their jobs if they ever need to call police. It also works as a way for the department to gauge what the community is worried about and what residents expect from their officers.
"[Officers] get a better sense of the community and what the citizens want out of their law enforcement," said the crime prevention unit's Tammy Moseley
Once they graduate, students receive a certificate, a florescent vest and a stronger sense of responsibility in their community. Often, academy alumni will go on neighborhood patrols or check in on the homes out of town neighbors. They also develop a deeper appreciation for the work of those who protect and serve.
"You get to know and respect what they do," Doggett said. "They go out there and they never know if they're going to come back home."
Registration for the summer academy is closed. The Killeen Police Department offers two session per year. The next academy will begin sometime in the winter of 2015.
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